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Conceptions Of History: Azariah De’ Rossi

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Chapter Summary

Azariah de' Rossi of Mantua, the Jewish scholar of the Italian Renaissance, is certainly not an historian stricto sensu - an opinion expressed by Salo W. Baron in his pioneering studies on Azariah's historical method. When comparing him to contemporary scholars, Baron refuses to qualify Azariah as a historian. Azariah de' Rossi does not easily fit into specific historiographic categories. Azariah de' Rossi grew up within the humanist Weltanschauung. At the same time, however, he was also deeply influenced by the rabbinic teachings that, from an early age, had informed his beliefs. By making use of Hellenistic Jewish literature, Azariah challenges its implicit rejection by the Sages. Azariah de' Rossi remained unknown in the Jewish world for some two centuries, even though his work had often been plagiarized by his contemporaries. In the Christian world, he was frequently quoted, often even as the Jewish opinion.

Keywords: Azariah de' Rossi; Christian world; Hellenistic Jewish literature; rabbinic teachings; Salo W. Baron



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